War on crime is being won, say police

Waghied Misbach and McKeed Kotlolo

Waghied Misbach and McKeed Kotlolo

Police say they are are winning the war against crime, but are worried by the rising rate of murders, aggravated robberies, hijackings and bank robberies, which have shown a massive 118,6 percent increase.

South Africa will host a crime-free 2010 Soccer World Cup because high rates of crime occur mostly in mega townships, says the country's top cop.

National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi was yesterday discussing crime trends and crime statistics from April 1 2006 to March 31 2007 yesterday.

Selebi said there would be more officers on the beat for the event. The force's 158000 members would be increased to 193000 by 2010.

Contact crimes dropped 3,4 percent from 2005-06 to 2006-07.

Common assault was reduced by 8,7 percent (227553 cases to 210057 cases); common robbery by 5,8 percent (74723 cases to 71156 cases); indecent assault by 5,5 percent (9805 cases to 9367); rape by 5,2 percent (54926 cases to 52617 cases); assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm down by 4,9 percent (226942 cases to 218030 cases); and attempted murder down by 3 percent (20571 cases to 20142).

But aggravated robbery increased by 4,6 percent (119726 cases to 126558 cases) and murder increased by 2,4 percent (18528 cases to 19202 cases).

The police noted that "at least two-thirds" of all contact crimes were "strongly linked" to the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and these crimes occurred mainly in informal settlements.

Police analyst Chris de Kock said rape was greatly under reported and that in as many as 37 percent of rape cases the complaints against alleged rapists were withdrawn; 23 percent of complainants in indecent assault cases withdrew the charges.

Car hijackings increased by 6 percent (12825 to 13599); truck hijackings increased by 7,6 percent (829 to 892); cash-in-transit robberies rose by 21,9 percent (383 to 467); bank robberies up by 118,6 percent (59 to 129); robbery at residential premises up by 25,4 percent (10173 to 12761) and robbery at business premises up by 52,5 percent (4387 to 6689).

Arson rose by 2 percent (7622 to 7858); malicious damage to property dropped 1,7 percent (144265 to 143336); burglary at residential premises decreased by 5,9 percent (262535 to 249665); burglary at non-residential premises increased by 6,3 percent (54367 to 58438). Theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles increased by 0,7 percent (85964 to 86298). But theft out of or from motor vehicles was down by 11,8 percent (139090 to 124029).

Stock theft dipped by 0,8 percent (28742 to 28828).

De Kock said crime heavily dependent on police action had risen, which reflected well on the police. The results were obtained from roadblocks, search operations and intelligence-driven operations.

Illegal possession of guns showed an increase of 5,6 percent (13453 to 14354); drug-related crime rose by 8,2 percent (95690 to 104 689); driving under the influence of liquor went up by 14,3 percent (33116 to 38261).

All other classes of theft dropped by 5,1 percent (432629 to 415163); commercial crime rose 12,6 percent (54214 to 61690; and shoplifting rose by 0,5 percent (64491 to 65489).

There were 36747 cases of crimen injuria, 12871 cases of culpable homicide, 4258 of neglect or ill-treatment of children, 3217 cases of abduction, 2345 of kidnapping and 1023 of public violence.